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Director of Poverty Center Shut Down by UNC Board To Speak at App State on Thursday



Gene Nichol, the noted law professor and anti-poverty advocate, will speak at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, September 10 at 8 p.m.

His talk is entitled “Poverty, Politics and Academic Freedom in North Carolina.” His campus visit has been organized by the Appalachian State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Nichol is Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina. From 2008 to 2015, he ran UNC’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which was founded in 2004 to “advocate for proposals, policies and services to mitigate poverty in North Carolina.”

In 2015, after considerable public controversy, the UNC Board of Governors voted to shut down Dr. Nichol’s Poverty Center. Dr. Nichol was outspoken in his criticism of this decision. In February, he wrote in the Raleigh News & Observer: “The members of the Board of Governors have demonstrated unfitness for their high office. Their actions represent a profound, partisan, and breathtakingly shortsighted abuse of power. They deserve our disdain, not our approval. Their decisions call for defiance, not supine submission. With many others, I’ll do my best to provide it.”

Alongside his work as a professor, Dr. Nichol is a prominent public intellectual, who regularly contributes to Raleigh News & Observer and The Progressive Populist. He has also written for The Nation and the Washington Post for over a dozen years. He is, moreover, a major legal scholar: he is the author of Federal Courts (third edition, West, 2015) and a contributor to Where we Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent (NewSouth, 2008). His articles have appeared in the law reviews of Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Duke and Virginia.

From 2005-2008, Dr. Nichol was president of the College of William and Mary. Previously, he was dean of the law school at UNC from 1999 to 2005 and at the University of Colorado from 1988 to 1995. From 1985 to 1988, he was Director of the William & Mary Bill of Rights Institute.

Organization: Appalachian State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

For more information, contact Dr. Michael C. Behrent, Chapter President (and Associate Professor of History) at behrentmc@appstate.edu or 828-719-5759.